The Guide > Household > Appliances > Microwaves
Appliances are subject to many of the same ethical considerations as other consumer electronics. Cheap appliances likely mean manufacturers are skipping standards relating to workers' conditions and wages, and the quality of materials used in production. Other concerns include conflict minerals, opaque supply chains, right to repair and e-waste.

Buying second-hand is a nice way to sidestep many of these issues. Buying from used appliance stores means the item has been checked over and will usually come with a warranty. Advantages to buying used include saving money, extending the life of products, reducing landfill, and keeping money local.
  • When buying appliances, consider looking for second-hand goods online, or in op-shops and whitegoods refurbishers. Donate or sell any unwanted appliances.
  • If your appliance stops working, try fixing it yourself, or take it to a repair cafe or independent repairer for repairs. If it can't be fixed, recycle it with a reputable e-waste recycling scheme. Recycling Near You
  • CHOICE provides reviews and articles to help you choose the best appliances based on performance and price . CHOICE
Of all the energy used by a household 29% goes on use of appliances. This includes 9% on the fridge and freezer, and 15% on electronic equipment and items such as irons, vacuum cleaners and sewing machines. Cutting the energy used by your appliances can have an immediate effect on bills and carbon emissions. See article for more on specifics for dryers, refrigerators and freezers.
  • The Energy Rating Label shows the energy performance of particular appliances. It works hand-in-hand with Minimum Energy Performance Standards that establish a minimum level of energy performance that products must meet before they can be sold to consumers. Choose products that compare well. Energy Rating
  • Like your TV and computer, your microwave (and even some washing machines) have a 'standby' mode, which means they're still using energy even when you are not using them. Unplug your appliances when they're not in use. Choice
Right to repair refers to a consumer's ability to repair the products they own themselves or by taking it to an independent repairer. There are many ways companies limit repairability, usually for the sake of turning a profit. One method is called planned obsolescence, where products are designed with an artificially limited useful life, forcing customers to replace their products more often. Other anti-repair strategies include blocking and locking third-party parts, designing unrepairable products, pairing parts to the motherboard, and restricting access to parts, tools, and manuals. There are many negative consequences to these business practices, such as encouraging wastage, environmental damage, and causing financial stress for consumers.
  • Find your closest repair cafe, where volunteers show you how to fix your own stuff. Australian Repair Network has a helpful map of repair cafes around Australia (at the bottom of the linked webpage). Australian Repair Network
  • Find repair guides for everything from electronics and appliances to clothing and cars at iFixit. iFixit
  • Don't just throw out old electronics if they stop working, see if they can be repaired, and if not recycle it with a reputable e-waste recycling scheme. Recycling Near You
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